New Mexico is the first state to open up its medical cannabis program to non-resident visitors, and residents of other states are beginning to flock to New Mexico seeking 3-year medical cannabis patient cards from the state.
A total of 130 patients from outside the state were issued 3-year medical marijuana cards from New Mexico in October, according to data released by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Medical marijuana patients are coming from several nearby states, including Texas, Arizona and Colorado. Also from more distant states, such as Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois and Michigan. Mexican nationals also are enrolling in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, explained Ultra Health, which compiled the data for NMDOH.
The influx of non-residents seeking medical cannabis cards in New Mexico was triggered by a September court order that New Mexico drop the residency requirement in its medical marijuana program. The order came about from a challenge to the New Mexico medical cannabis program after the law creating that state’s medical cannabis program was updated in June. One change penned to the law was in the definition of qualified patient – it was changed from “New Mexico resident” to “person.”
The number of non-residents obtaining medical cannabis patient cards in New Mexico is a tiny fraction of the 78,362 total medical cannabis patient cards issued by the state since inception of its medical cannabis in 2007. But experts expect the number of non-resident patients to increase rapidly as more patients from other states take advantage of the program.
Earlier this year, the New Mexico House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation authorizing adult recreational cannabis use. While that legislation stalled in the State Senate, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as promised to add the measure to her legislative agenda in 2020.